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CAPCOA Progress Toward Clean Air 2012

CAPCOA Progress Toward Clean Air 2012

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Published by VCStar
CAPCOA Progress Toward Clean Air 2012
CAPCOA Progress Toward Clean Air 2012

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Published by: VCStar on Apr 20, 2012
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The California Air Pollution Control Officers’ Association (CAPCOA) is an associationrepresenting all 35 local air quality agencies throughout California. The purpose of thisreport is to provide objective information for California residents and other interestedparties regarding California’s remarkable journey toward cleaner air and the challengesthat remain.
Strategy for Cleaner Air
California, the most populous state in the nation, includes regions with pristine airquality as well as regions with the highest number of violations of the federal health-based standards for ozone and particulate matter. California employs a comprehensivestrategy aimed at reducing pollutants from a variety of sources of air pollution. Thismultifaceted strategy targets mobile and stationary sources of pollution emitting myriadair contaminants and contains effective regulatory and incentive-based measures.Local air districts have authority to regulate businesses and industrial facilities, while theCalifornia Air Resources Board (CARB) regulates air pollution from cars, trucks, busesand other sources. California’s regulatory program, one of the strongest in the nation, isalso supplemented with significant public and private investments in voluntary incentive-based measures. Clearly, California’s clean air strategies continue to serve as a modelfor the rest of the nation and throughout the world.
Air Quality Challenges
Despite significant improvements, air quality remains a major source of public healthconcern in large metropolitan areas throughout California. The San Joaquin Valleyand the South Coast Air Basin continue to face significant challenges in meeting thefederal health-based standards for ozone and fine particles, despite their regional andstate-level controls on mobile and stationary sources that are the most stringent in thenation. In 2007, both regions sought extension for meeting the 1997 8-hour federalambient air quality standard for ozone. A comparable challenge faces each region withrespect to attainment of the 1997 PM2.5 standard. Due to continued progress in healthresearch, the federal EPA lowered the ambient concentration for the 8-hour ozone and24-hour PM 2.5 standards in 2008 and 2006, respectively. The net effect of thesestricter standards is to raise the performance bar for California air basins. This willextend the timeframe for attainment in highly polluted regions as well as increase thenumber of air basins with non-attainment status. Challenges also exist for air districtsacross California who are in attainment with the federal standards, as they continue tostrive for attainment of the State's health-based ozone and PM standards, which aremore stringent than the standards adopted by the EPA.Regarding health risks and their costs, recent state and national assessments haveprovided an empirical yardstick for measuring the costs of unhealthy air and the benefitsof meeting the national air quality standards. For the South Coast and San JoaquinValley areas the annual health costs of air pollution have been estimated to total $22
billion ($1,250 per person) and $6 billion ($1,600 per person), respectively.
Multiplestudies have demonstrated that the monetary benefits of achieving health-based airpollution standards are far greater than the cost of attaining those standards.As for the health risk posed by PM 2.5 to California residents, a recent analysisconducted by CARB using the federal EPA’s methodology estimated that, on average,9,200 annual cases of premature cardiopulmonary deaths can be attributed to PM 2.5exposure.
 Each of the 35 air districts throughout California have had successes and face futurechallenges in meeting these ambient air quality standards. For specific informationregarding the air quality successes and challenges for your local air district please referto the following sections:
Antelope Valley AQMD
Prior to the Antelope Valley AQMD’s 1997 formation, it was not uncommon for localstationary source owner and operators to have never hosted an air district inspector ontheir site. Less than 15 years later, the AVAQMD boasts a 100% inspection andenforcement rate on the more than 1,000 permit units located within its 1,300 squaremile jurisdiction. In addition to being a mecca for the aerospace industry, the AntelopeValley is now attracting the renewable energy sector as well. In 2011, the AVAQMDissued Authority to Construct permits for the 570 MW Palmdale Hybrid Power plant,which will integrate solar thermal technology into the project’s natural gas-fired system.The hybrid plant will create an important source of electricity in the Antelope Valley andstrengthen the electric grid throughout the region.While aerospace and energy generation bring economic opportunities for the AntelopeValley, regulatory challenges are not far behind. Permitting the Palmdale Power Plantand similar projects requires herculean and often prohibitive efforts for operators andinvestors seeking to acquire scarce emission reduction credits and offsets. Meanwhile,implementation of the aerospace NESHAP is proving to be an economic andtechnological challenge for affected Antelope Valley sources, as is staying abreast ofnew MACT requirements. AB32’s added regulatory burden continues to pose a threatto the local economy, as do ever-increasing state and federal regulations, includingimplementation of the 2008 75 ppb federal 8-hour ozone standard.
Bay Area AQMD
The Bay Area experienced the most challenging winter Spare the Air season since theadoption of the Wood Burning Rule in 2008. A high pressure system over the regionmade air quality unhealthy for much of December 2011 and January 2012. Pollution
Hall, J., V. Brajer and F. Lurmann. (2008) The Benefits of Meeting Federal Clean Air Standards in theSouth Coast and San Joaquin Valley Air Basins. California State
Institute forEconomic and Environmental Studies. Seehttp://business.fullerton.edu/centers/iees/ 
California Air Resources Board. (2010) Estimate of Premature Deaths Associated with Fine ParticlePollution (PM2.5) in California Using a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Methodology. Sacramento,CA, August

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